From reading many blogs and my own experience, I sketched a chart showing the time windows for going S-to-N and N-to-S in http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=Sh&page_id=310078&v=4z . Of course this is not rocket science.
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In the end, for touring use a conservatively designed wheel built by a good wheel builder. For most touring applications you should not use radial spoking. Don't use low spoke count wheels, do use a good brand of spokes in a conservative pattern that doesn't require a tensiometer to build. Use strong rims. Make sure they're in good repair before starting your tour.
Slopes of 8 degrees is about the maximum you will see on the TransAm.I think you'll find a lot of people who would dispute that.
If I weren't to take the Bike Friday, it would mean purchasing a new bike. My dad always talks about getting a "real bike", however he is referring to a road bike, and I'd be shopping for a touring bike. We only have so much money and so much room in our shed, so for me to buy a pure touring bike for my trip would be a stretch. More practically, the touring bike I purchased could also double as something my dad and I could take out on rides for fun/exercise.
I'd appreciate any feedback on my situation! Should I stick with the Bike Friday? Should I investigate a new bike?
..... All a large flange hub does is make the spokes shorter.